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The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift/Volume 14/Letter: Swift to Pope - 29

< The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift‎ | Volume 14


DUBLIN, MAY 31, 1737.


IT is true, I owe you some letters, but it has pleased God, that I have not been in a condition to pay you. When you shall be at my age, perhaps you may lie under the same disability to your present or future friends. But my age is not my disability, for I can walk six or seven miles, and ride a dozen. But I am deaf for two months together, this deafness unqualifies me for all company, except a few friends with countertenor voices, whom I can call names, if they do not speak loud enough for my ears. It is this evil that has hindered me from venturing to the Bath, and to Twitenham; for deafness being not a frequent disorder, has no allowance given it; and the scurvy figure a man affected that way makes in company, is utterly insupportable.

It was I began with the petition to you of Orna me, and now you come like an unfair merchant, to charge me with being in your debt; which by your way of reckoning I must always be, for yours are always guineas, and mine farthings; and yet I have a pretence to quarrel with you, because I am not at the head of any one of your epistles. I am often wondering how you come to excel all mortals on the subject of morality, even in the poetical way; and should have wondered more, if nature and education had not made you a professor of it from your infancy. "All the letters I can find of yours, I have fastened in a folio cover, and the rest in bundles endorsed; but, by reading their dates, I find a chasm of six years, of which I can find no copies; and yet I keep them with all possible care: but, I have been forced, on three or four occasions to send all my papers to some friends, yet those papers were all sent sealed in bundles, to some faithful friends; however, what I have, are not much above sixty." I found nothing in any one of them to be left out: none of them have any thing to do with party, of which you are the clearest of all men, by your religion, and the whole tenour of your life; while I am raging every moment against the corruption of both kingdoms, especially of this; such is my weakness.

I have read your Epistle of Horace to Augustus: it was sent me in the English edition, as soon as it could come. They are printing it in a small octavo. The curious are looking out, some for flattery, some for ironies in it; the sour folks think they have found out some: but your admirers here, I mean every man of taste, affect to be certain, that the profession of friendship to me in the same poem, will not suffer you to be thought a flatterer. My happiness is that you are too far engaged, and in spite of you the ages to come will celebrate me, and know you are a friend who loved and esteemed me, although I died the object of court and party hatred.

Pray who is that Mr. Glover, who writ the epick poem called Leonidas, which is reprinting here, and has great vogue. We have frequently good poems of late from London. I have just read one upon conversation, and two or three others. But the crowd do not encumber you, who like the orator or preacher, stand aloft, and are seen above the rest, more than the whole assembly below.

I am able to write no more; and this is my third endeavour, which is too weak to finish the paper: I am, my dearest friend, yours entirely, as long as I can write, or speak, or think.